Employer benefits have changed over the centuries to meet employees’ changing needs. While group healthcare is still standard, there are newer benefits that TPAs can offer in 2024 that may better serve the needs of both employers and employees.
Health Reimbursement Arrangements
Group Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) have been around for some time. The IRS first acknowledged them in 2002 to reimburse qualified healthcare costs. HRAs now include three additional types covering qualified insurance premiums and related healthcare expenses: QSEHRAs, ICHRAs, and EBHRAs.
The 21st Century Cures Act of December 2016 introduced the Qualified Small Employer HRAs (QSEHRAs), a new option for employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees. Qualified small employers who previously struggled with offering a group plan can now use a QSEHRA to support their valuable talent by reimbursing employee premiums for individual health coverage purchased on the open market.
Individual Coverage HRAs (ICHRAs), authorized by 2019 legislation, are similar in concept to QSEHRAs. However, companies of any size can adopt them. ICHRAs are rapidly growing in popularity as an option to help employers control healthcare costs while giving employees more freedom of choice and control over their healthcare.
Excepted Benefit HRAs (EBHRAs) can reimburse for ACA-excepted benefits, such as dental or vision premiums, up to a maximum of $1,950 annually per employee in 2023.
Lifestyle Spending Accounts
Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSAs) provide benefits flexibility. LSAs can reimburse almost any type of expense the employer chooses. However, 213(d) healthcare expenses should not be made eligible to avoid triggering ERISA regulations.
For example, The Hartford reports that 38% of Gen Z and 32% of Millennials say their mental health affects productivity. Most health insurance policies cover traditional mental health care (inpatient care, outpatient therapy, prescription medication, and so on) but do not cover alternative treatments such as smartphone apps that help with stress reduction and sleep, meditation and yoga classes, etc. Employers can make expenses such as these LSA-eligible to help support employees’ mental and emotional well-being.
In addition to mental and emotional well-being, LSAs may be used to help support:
- Fitness and healthy eating pursuits to improve physical health and well-being
- Home office purchases to support efficient, productive remote work
- Personal financial planning and budgeting courses to support financial well-being
- …and more!
Emergency Savings Accounts
An Emergency Savings Account is critical to help during unexpected financial challenges such as job loss, major surprise expenses, etc. Enabling employees to save a portion of each paycheck automatically can help them build savings more effectively for future needs.
Student Loan Assistance Programs
Student debt is a problem in many households, especially this month, as payments and interest on government-backed student loans resume after a three-year pandemic-related hiatus. Employers can offer tax-free student loan repayment assistance through a pandemic-era program extended through December 31, 2025, by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
These are only a few newer, more creative ways to support employee health and wellness by promoting physical, emotional, mental, and financial well-being. They also represent major growth opportunities for the TPAs who promote and administer them.
DataPath, Inc. has been a full-service TPA business solutions provider for nearly four decades. Our cloud-based Summit platform is the industry’s first all-in-one solution for CDH, HSA, Well-Being, COBRA, and Billing administration; plus, we offer comprehensive Operations BPO and award-winning Marketing Services for users of all administrative platforms. Please enter your email (above right) to be notified when new blog articles are published.